Objections & FAQs

Some objections to, and/or frequently-asked questions (FAQs) about Metaversalism, with our answers to them. 

1. Basic Premises of Metaversalism

2. Great Mysteries Solved by Metaversalism

3. Answers to some Objections to Metaversalism

Q. Doesn’t the belief in an infinity of universes violate Occam’s Razor?

A. No. In fact, in our professional opinion, as practicing scientists who have also studied the philosophy of science, Metaversalism is actually favored by Occam’s Razor.  Sir William of Ockham stated, “Thou shalt not multiply entities beyond necessity.”  But, the most modern and well-established form of this rule in science is summarized by the minimum description length (MDL) principle:  Whichever theory explaining the data that can be defined most concisely (using the fewest total bits of defining information) is the one that is most likely to be correct.  In other words, the “entities” that Ockham was referring to are the details of the theory itself – such as, for example, the many specific epicyles or “circles upon circles” that are spelled out in Ptolemy’s baroque (and incorrect) model of planetary motion.  But, there is no limit on the number of entities that can be generated implicitly by the theory’s description.  For example, Newton’s physics was an extremely simple theory to define, despite its positing the existence of an infinite continuum consisting of uncountably many unique points of spacetime.  Similarly, metaversalism’s theory that all possible universes exist is actually the simplest possible theory of existence to define – any theory that had to pick out a specific universe and state “this universe exists, but not the others” would be more complex.  Thus, the metaverse model is actually the simplest possible theory of existence, with the greatest possible conceptual economy, and therefore it is the theory that, by the correct interpretation of Occam’s Razor, is most likely to be correct.

Q. But it sure feels to me like my (and/or this universe’s) existence is something beyond mere mathematical existence.

A. Metaversalism argues that this is most likely nothing but a persistent illusion.  Our sense of the reality or physicality of our world can be traced back to the fact that our universe has simple, stable, consistent laws, and that our consciousness remains stably embedded within it.  The fact that our consciousness remains stably in this universe, rather than constantly jumping off from this universe into other conceivable realities in which our minds could be embedded, is in turn attributed to the fact that our universe apparently has high probability (frequency, strength, reality) among the panoply of possible universes that support the continuation of our consciousness.  This high probability, in turn, relates to our universe’s underlying simplicity (another application of Occam’s Razor), as well as, perhaps, to other properties of our universe (such as, perhaps, its interestingness, due to the fact that life, and intelligent life, have evolved within it, and possibly due to some interesting final destiny towards which we are headed), which may make the details of our particular universe more likely to be elaborated intentionally by powerful sentient beings (“gods” if you wish) within other universes.  So, the fact that our universe has a sense of reality about it can be attributed to the fact that it has simple laws of physics, and that intelligent life evolved within it.

Q. Your version of “life after death” doesn’t console me, because I don’t believe that the other instances of me in other universes are really me.

A. Why not?  When we talk about other instances of your consciousness, we mean ones that are exactly the same – they are experiencing the exact same thoughts, memories, feelings, perceptions, and emotions as you are having at this moment, and if you like, they can have had the same ones as you throughout the history of your existence up to now.  They are as much you as you are, and they only differ from you after the moment when you die, and they don’t.  If your argument is “they do not share my soul” – well, metaversalism does not endorse the traditional concept of a soul per se.  Instead, we have the concept of “the evolving pattern of your stream of consciousness,” many instances of which may exist in different contexts, in different universes.  It is this general pattern that continues indefinitely, not any particular instance of it.

Q. Please spell out for me, in formal mathematics, exactly what a “universe” is, what it means for a universe to be elaborated within another universe, and how a universe’s “degree of reality” is defined.

A. Metaversalism is a work in progress, and we do not have complete answers to all of these kinds of technical details just yet.  Part of the problem with any conceivable answer to this question would be that it would presuppose some particular framework for doing mathematics, and for defining important notions such as computation, and for enumerating an appropriately weighted ensemble of possible universes.  Also, there is the issue of defining what (if anything) distinguishes a “universe” from other mathematical objects.  There are always a fair number of arbitrary decisions to be made in designing any specific framework for addressing these issues.  It is not yet clear whether the “degree of reality” quantity can be defined in a way that sweeps aside all such arbitrary details of the theory’s design, and that remains stable and consistent no matter what mathematical framework we use to enumerate possible universes and identify their parent-child relationships.  We would like it to be stable, so that we can connect the “degree of reality” concept with real probabilities, as we conscious beings ourselves subjectively experience them.  One of the optimistic but not-yet-proven assumptions of metaversalism is that, with a sufficient amount of further mathematical/scientific study of the nature of the Metaverse, a definitive method of accomplishing this goal will eventually be found.

4. History of Metaversalism